Housing for the super rich approved, 8-3

Construction workers line up to promote 8 Washington. Guardian photo by Steven T. Jones

The progressive movement and the battle for housing balance and economic justice in San Francisco got walloped May 15 when eight supervisors sided with a developer who wants to build condos for the massively rich on the waterfront.

I watched it all, minus a few minutes while I was putting the kids to bed, all seven and a half hours of testimony and discussion, winding up with a series of pro-developer voters a little after midnight. It was stunning: Opponents of the project came out in droves, many of them seniors, others tenant activists and neighbors. Former City Attorney Louise Renne, who is by no means an anti-development type or any sort of economic radical, led off the arguments in favor of scrapping the environmental impact report and denying the conditional use permit that are needed for 8 Washington to move forward. They brought up so many points that by the end there was nothing more to say: This meets no housing need in San Francisco, further screws up the city’s own mandates for a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, caters to the top half of the top half of the 1 percent, is too tall and bulky for the site, offers the city too little in community benefits and is one of the great development scams of our time.

Then the other side spoke -- the city planners who defended the EIR and, briefly, developer Simon Snellgrove. His supporters lined up -- and almost all of them talked about the same thing: Construction jobs. I get it, we need construction jobs -- but is that a justification for such a bad project? As Sup. David Chiu pointed out, “apartment construction is booming.  There are 22,000 units under construction and 50,000 more in the pipeline.”

Both sides were organized, but only one paid people to show up: At least five people seated in the front row, wearing pro-8 Washington stickers, confirmed that they’d been paid $100 each -- in cash -- to show up. They didn’t even speak, leaving once they realized that they were misled about the project. One source heard a construction worker say he knew nothing about the project and had been bused in from Sacramento.

And after hearing all of that, the supervisors did what they clearly had decided to do long before a word of testimony was uttered.

The vote to overturn the EIR went like this: favoring the developer were Supervisors Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, Christina Olague, Malia Cohen, Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd and Scott Wiener. Opposing the project were Chiu, John Avalos and David Campos.

Approving the conditional use went along the same voting lines. Chiu couldn’t even get a continuance after arguing that there was no report from the budget analyst and no financial information about whether this is a good deal for the city.

That’s the lineup: Eight votes for the 1 percent. Three votes for the rest of us. I haven’t seen anything this bad in years.

Some fascinating information came out of the discussion. Chiu made clear that the developer doesn’t need the height-limit increase to make a profit off the deal. He estimated that the total sales revenue from the project would be around $470 million and construction costs about $177 million. That’s a huge profit margin, even if you add in another $25 million for upfront soft costs.

Snellgrove’s lawyer, Mary Murphy, tried to duck the financial issues, talking around in circles. Evenutally Chiu got Snellgrove to respond, and he said the costs would be higher and his profit would only be about $80 million. “The capital markets require a high return on these projects,” he said.
Still: $80 million is a lot of money. And while Snellgrove and his allies love to talk about the $11 million in affordable housing money for the city, that’s about 2.3 percent of his total revenue. Which doesn’t sound quite as juicy.

Chiu raised another good question: “Should a condo that sells for $5 million pay the same affordable housing fees as one that sells for $500,000?”
Mar, who is usually a strong progressive, was the big surprise of the night, not only voting the wrong way but teeing up softball questions for the city planners to make the project sound better. It was as if he was reading from the developer’s talking points.

In the end, he said he saw “a lot of benefits from this project,” but promised to work with the developer to advocate for “less bulk and less height.” Olague said the same thing.

But even if it’s a little smaller, this will still be a completely misalignment of housing priorities, a project entirely for the very rich. That’s not going to change.

If anything, they should push for more affordable housing money -- a whole lot more. Because what we’re getting is enough for maybe 25 or 30 units, which means 80 percent of the new housing related to this project will be for multimillionaires and 20 percent for everyone else. Keep that pattern going -- and there are few signs that it’s about to change -- and imagine what this city will be like in 20 years.

It's not over, not yet: The actual development agreement and the height-limit changes still have to come to the board early in June. And if the mayor signs off on it, opponents are talking serious about a ballot referendum that would be before the voters in November -- just when Olague, Mar, Avalos, Campos, and Chiu will be up for re-election.


The idea that people should be forced to leave their home, their community, the city they love because it's become too expensive and they should just "go to someplace a BART ride away" is disgusting. Cities are not just about economics; they are communities. Places people live. It's not all about the money, folks, and the two or three people who post over and over on this blog under whatever names need to recognize that we have a fundamental difference in philosophy.

Happy to have you here, but get a grip.

Posted by tim on May. 16, 2012 @ 7:44 pm


The whole Bay Area is a community. Whether living in Oakland or San Mateo or San Francisco or Marin - we're all part of the same living community.

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

how many names are you currently using lucreatia snapples or is that right-on-sister-snapples or now troll II? for years you denied being a troll. now you call yourself troll II. finally admitted it. that's the first step in admitting you have a problem, not that you'll do anything about your problem. what was wrong with the other two names?

Posted by guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

I'm reclaiming the Troll mythology while at the same time denuding it of its power. Trolls are powerful because everyone responds to them while claiming they're not - like you.

At some point, when someone else appropriates Troll II, then perhaps Lucretia Snapples or her sister will make a reappearance. However I could always post as generic "guest" because that's SO much braver and more consistent.

Posted by Troll II on May. 16, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

Absolutely, thank you.

Although unfortunately, I don't think the 2-3 people here you're referring to are anywhere close to "getting a grip" and I doubt that's even possible with them. They refuse to understand that there is a "fundamental difference in philosophy," or they choose to continually in-your-face troll on the difference in the most smug and arrogant manner possible. I know the politicians they support, which does not speak at all well of the politicians to have this gutter level of people supporting them. It speaks to an "ends justify the means" way of thinking, which can leave a very nasty taste in one's mouth.

But I agreed with all that you wrote and thank you again.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

Should I be entitled to live in the Upper East Side, La Jolla, Pacific Heights or Hawaii? How would you suggest that we socially "cleanse" and "engineer" who lives here to ensure that the "right" kind of people get to enjoy the city?

America has a method of determining who lives where and it is called money. Maybe Bulgaria or Cuba has a different method but I don't notice you applying for a visa to live in either place.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:51 am

Lately, the far right has taken to using words like "entitled" or "entitlement" to refer to everything from lower-income folks to social security to discussions of race and economics. It's code for "I don't want poor folks or people of color living in my neighborhood." Talk about a sense of entitlement!

Posted by lp on May. 17, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

benign programs as medicare and social security even though in fact you have to earn the right to benefit from them.

But in this case the meaning is more acute. Someone somewhere hears about SF and thinks it is "cool" and "hip" and he'd like to live here. He dropped out of high school and has no useful job skills, but feels he should be here anyway.

He arrives and of course finds out that because it is so desirable, and because there are many high-paid jobs here, he can barely afford to live here. Should he:

1) Get an education, job skills, work hard, and make sacrifices until he can afford to support himself here? Or

2) Become an activist and claim that the "one percent" should subsidize his "right" to live here?

Think carefully before you answer.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

As far as Dems are concerned, they have swung so far to the right that it's hard to distinguish them from their far right brethren (at least in Congress). But I think you've missed the point entirely. I know plenty of professionals, artists and college graduates with excellent job skills and credentials who can't afford to live in this city. (And even the unskilled can pick up the skills to be valuable workers through education and training.) The point is that the sense of entitlement seems to be coming precisely from the very folks who love to trot out this buzz word to describe others. The proof is in your comments. Projecting much?

Posted by lp on May. 17, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

just like I lack the fiscal power to own a Rolls Royve, or a yacht, or a private plane. See, that's the thing with money and we want it - because it gets you a better life. It's the whole point.

But if I demanded a goverment handout because I really, really want a Rolls royce, would that be reasonable? No, of course not.

So why is it "reasonable" for me to get a government handout so I can live somewhere I cannot afford like Geneva, Monaco or Aruba?

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

Guest, you said: "..if I demanded a goverment handout because I really, really want a Rolls royce, would that be reasonable? No, of course not.

"So why is it "reasonable" for me to get a government handout so I can live somewhere I cannot afford like Geneva, Monaco or Aruba?"

I don't know, you tell me. It seems to me that we're handing out the equivalent of rolls royces to the 1 right and left~ from the Twitter tax break to America's Cup to 8 Washington..the list goes on. And we are paying for it.

Frankly, I can hardly believe you're making this argument. Last year, an audit by the Federal Reserve found that we (or the feds acting for us) handed out $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the Great Recession. What have we gotten for subsidizing the rich. More of the same practices that led to the economic meltdown in the first place.

You like to talk about the rich subsidizing the poor, but have you checked the news lately? JP Morgan Chase, a company that U.S. taxpayers bailed out to the tune of $390 billion, just "lost" $2 billion from speculating with our money. But do you really expect these fat cats to take responsibility when they've put our entire economy at risk? No, they've fought and continue to fight regulation tooth and nail.

As Matt Taibbi put it, "If the bank fails, someone will reach into your pocket to pay for the cleanup. So when they gamble like drunken sailors, it’s everyone’s problem." That's some rolls royce.


Posted by lp on May. 17, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

How is the construction of 8-Wash "subsidizing the one percent" when the funding is 100% private and moreover the developers will hand over a cool 11 million for affordable housing?

See, your argument is a deft soundbite but upon even a cursory examination, this project doesn't involving anyone subsidizing the rich - it's the rich subsidizing the rest of us.

Oh, and those 2 million dollar condo's will each pay over 20 grand a year each in property tax. That could almost pay for yet another bad artist with no money or marketable skills to move here from Cleveland and live in a place he can't afford.

Ho hum.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

Oh, so you want to stay "on topic", do you? Then stop diverting the discussion with your fawning panegyrics to the rich. Your "cursory examination" doesn't say much about the real costs of this boondoggle to SF residents/ taxpayers. As Tim pointed out, "Nobody knows for sure whether the costs of servicing high-end residential exceed the revenue the city gets from property taxes. In 1971, the Guardian put together the first-ever cost-benefit study for highrise office development, which showed that commercial buildings cost the city more than they paid; that's been confirmed and demonstrated over the years to the point where it's hardly even an argument any more. The supervisors ought to ask the city economist or the budget analyst to do the same sort of analysis for luxury condos."

So we don't know the real breakdown yet, because we lack this kind of analysis. And without it, your "cursory examination" is just that...pretty meaningless. I suggest you read Tim's piece "The Case Against 8 Washington" to see all the other problems with this project.



Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

No one's "entitled" to live here or anywhere. But we who do live here have a right and an obligation to work to create a diverse (in every way), vibrant community. It's not true the money rules solely, and I'm not sure why you'd want to live in a city where it does.

Posted by Guest on May. 20, 2012 @ 8:24 am

Yes we have a fundamental difference in philosophy. So what? Are we not supposed to post things if they differ in view ? Why do you allow comment if differing viewpoints are a problem? I'm confused about why you would post that. Is it supposed to silence your critics ? Sort of a shut up already ?

Posted by Greg2 on May. 16, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

Really, people don't like your political philosophy. The *majority* doesn't like your political philosophy. Not "two or three people".

It's at the point where you just lose, all the time, on pretty much everything. Yet you still write as if you speak for the people of San Francisco. How many losses at the ballot box and at the Board of Supes do you have to take before you realize that you are the fringe?

Posted by Sambo on May. 16, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

You admitted yesterday that, while it did offer some benefits, you didn't like the project because it would primarily benefit the wealthy, a social class that you described as boring.

You have to realize that any time someone says that Group A is 'boring' or Group B is 'lazy' or Group C is 'dishonest' that good people will stand up and call the offender out as nonsensical. Someone to be watched but certainly not someone to be listened to. If anyone read the SFBG there would be a public outcry for your head. Luckily, your trees fall in a forest where only '2 or 3' people hear them.

Posted by Troll on May. 16, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

The wealthy are boring. And immoral, sociopathic, violent and stupid.

"Behind every great fortune there is a great crime."

Everyone knows this.

Posted by Anon on May. 16, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

have no evidence for their assertion. It's like "it's widely acknowledged that . . . "

Stereotyping people is wrong, whether it is of blacks of the wealthy doesn't change that.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:17 am

Tim, what is disgusting is that San Franciscans had the power to stop projects like this not too long ago but that San Franciscans don't have that power now. The Guardian ignores the question as to why this is the case which is the only interesting question at this point in time.

Instead of dealing with the symptoms of why effective community power is absent at City Hall today with articles that have the tenor of "Why, you!!!," why this or that project got approved, how about a story on the decline of the progressive movement over the past six years?

There are reasons why corporate power was able to do an end run against San Franciscans and there are people who are were paid to mishandle what is supposed to be our political presence. These people still get paid today.

Perhaps they get paid because they are ineffective?

The first problem we have to overcome in order to do a post mortem on San Francisco's "progressive" movement is to get over the disinclination to name individuals and their failures and to hold people accountable for leading us off of a cliff.

What's more important, the feelings of an activist or advocate or the ongoing disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans? Outside of the coffee klatch world of politic as a purely social activity, is that even a question?

The second problem we have to overcome is to disassociate individuals and their political projects from the constituencies they claim to serve. Just because people work for what appears to be a good cause does not mean that they are doing any good for that constituency. To do otherwise just allows sentimentality to cover for failure.

And we've got to get over what appears to me as a preponderance of lapsed, apostate liberal Catholics within the prog movement who have yet to come to terms with the fact that power knows precisely what it is doing, that speaking the truth to those who make reality tells power nothing that it doesn't already know. It is not like the ruling elites are going to be coerced by liberal guilt into changing their stripes. Some altar boys will continue to visit the priest in the rectory even though they know what's in store for them.

Labor and the nonprofits have proven themselves incompetent at anything beyond bringing more money into their accounts, even at that they are challenged. Gone is any sort of mutual solidarity, both are willing to tolerate rampant municipal corruption in order to keep their good thing going,.

So long as labor and the nonprofits are afraid that unorganized working people and community members will not toe their political lines unquestioningly and both cut deals with corporate San Francisco to keep their thing going, we will see 2/3 of residents frozen out of the political process.

Sure, it will be painful to confront these and other show stopper issues. But the costs will be much greater and much more painful if corporate San Francisco continues to steamroll the City.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 6:13 am

Progs have never been a majority of the city. And other than Mayor Agnos and the BOS immediately after district elections started, they've never had much real power.

The majority of voters in this city are moderate, as evidenced by the election of Jordan, Brown, Newsom and Lee. And unless you have the numbers, then leftier policies will not prevail - most people want things like 8Wash.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:21 am

I disagree. Newsom barely squeaked in at the height of progressive power. Scared shitless at that prospect, corporate power regrouped and began to play for keeps.

The progressives, easily divided and coopted, did not even fight back.

When the progressive core presents issues as either liberal guilt trips, race based oppressive narratives or that the only legitimate purpose of government is to provide jobs and care for the poor, we lose.

When the project of government is cast as an inclusive operation that puts people first before corporations and the wealthy, downtown can be beat.

I don't think that most people know about 8 Washington or about CPMC. This is insider baseball.

They do know that infrastructure is crumbling because the "moderate" mayors believe that public works is an opportunity to enrich their patrons, they do know that government holds residents in contempt.

There are fertile political fields to cultivate here for those who view government as the agent of residents first and foremost. But the barrier to working those fields remains those whose cooption is vested in the current corrupt arrangements.

Not to worry, as we've seen, their naivete is boundless, they think because they give the Mayor money that he will give it back to them. They will be sadly mistaken, as the war on labor and the nonprofits will continue apace, the chairs available when the music stops will be fewer and fewer each time.

Abandoned, most voters won't have time to care about labor and the nonprofiteers fixated on the very poor when they've been repeatedly kicked to the curb by both downtown and the professional progressives.

The upshot will be that this incarnation of progressivism has consigned itself to the dustbin of history. As they decline and get more desperate, they will do everything in their power to prove their fealty to power, further alienating the voters.

They were warned and they did not listen, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:55 am

dispute the mechanics of how it happened.

Matt was probably the best candidiate the left have ever come up with for mayor, in my memory anyway, and he still lost. It was close but Newsom got 10% more votes than Matt in the runoff. Close compared with last time, when Lee got over 50% more votes than Avalos, but then Avalos was a much weaker candidiate with little personal presence, power or charisma. (Lee has none either but, as the incumbent, didn't need to).

Tim is part right though. The demographics of this city are slowly but inexorably working against the progressive cause. Too many knowledge workers are good salaries are moving here; too many artists etc. moving to Oakland.

The solution is easy. Move to Oakland - it will likely become a socialist nirvana even while SF becomes more moderate.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:24 am

Newsom got ~5% more votes in 2003, not 10%, a total of 15,000 out of 270K or so.

Avalos was too closely tied to the minoritarian elements of the progressive coalition that had already begun to fracture by this time last year.

I'd jumped off of the train after the poverty nonprofits scuttled Muni reform in 2009 to keep their cash flowing, throwing literally hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans under the bus to keep services running for a few tens of thousands. That is a perfect example of saving oneself through political suicide.

Others jumped on other trains, I did not.

Americans are concerned about concentration of wealth and of government corruption more so than poverty. No, they are not so concerned about public sector employee compensation as they are about seeing their tax dollars siphoned off to the corrupt interests that purchase elections.

San Franciscans are concerned about this all as well, and don't see nonprofit and labor progressives as independent of that corruption because we've all been sold out by them to the 1% so many times.

In an increasingly affluent yet insecure City, the successful appeal to counter downtown corporate dominance will be an inclusive appeal rather than a shrill, guilt laden narrow appeal.

Labor and nonprofiteers are structurally incapable of making such an appeal for reasons I've already outlined. They don't realize that neither the poor or non-connected San Franciscans unite as equivalent constituencies and move forward politically together or neither gets to move forward and the 1% continues to dominate.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 10:59 am

If there are 270,000 votes and one side won by 15,000 votes, then the count was 142,500 to 127,500. The winner has 11.78% more votes than the loser. Even my 10% figure was too low; yours was way out.

You write:

"Americans are concerned about concentration of wealth and of government corruption more so than poverty."

That's also completely wrong. Most Americans don't want "less rich people". They want "less poor people", and more for the middle class. But they don't see the issue as taking from the rich. The elft always want a class war but most Americans just want to do well and don't get envious when others do exactly that.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:22 am

The margin of victory was 5%, that is the term of art to describe election results. Whatever figures you pull out of your ass are between you and your ass.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:39 am

You're computing 5% as the amount by which Gavin got more votes than Matt.

But if you carefully re-read what I said it was that Gavin got 10% more votes than Matt, which is different and also true.

IOW, if the Bof S votes 5-4 on an issue, then the winning margin is 1/11 or about 9%. But the Yes votes are 20% more than the No votes.

So back to Gavin vs Matt, 11 people voted for Gavin for every 10 who voted for Matt, i.e. 10% more.


Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:56 am

You can pull metrics out of your ass that nobody but you uses to try to make the election seem less close than it was, but they still smell of ass.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

Glen is in denial about Avalos getting crushed. But you are over-stating the closeness of Gavin vs Matt. Eleven to ten is fairly clearcut, and that was with the best progressive candidiate you've had since Agnos.

Lee to Avalos was three to two, of course. Massive.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

Newsom also out spent Gonzalez by a factor of 10:1, independent expenditures included, all for 10% more votes for a margin of victory of 5%.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

will convert 15,000 people from being earnest liberals into zealous right-wingers?

You really do have little faith in your fellow resident.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

Polls showed Gonzalez with 50% of the vote 3 weeks out from the election.

Newsom had to spend every penny he did in order to win. They even had to truck in Al Gore for chrissake, or was it Bubba?

People do not raise and spend money on elections for nothing.

The Republican Supreme Court did not eradicate spending limits in favor of expensive speech for nothing, they did so because absent self financed gazillionaires (Newsom has always relied on the financial largess of others, never putting his own skin in the game, Tourke excepted) more money almost always wins elections.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

borderline voters went for Gavin. Most obviously because he was considered more known and a safer pair of hands. Matt was a little more risky and, while people liked the idea, in the end fear of the lesser known swung the vote.

I've seen no evidence that SF voters, who are fairly independant and smart by nature, were swung by a few dumb paid TV ad's.

SCOTUS in't Republican, else Roe vs Wade and Brown vs Board of Education would never have passed.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

Marcos: "The margin of victory was 5%, that is the term of art to describe election results. Whatever figures you pull out of your ass are between you and your ass."

Yes, but that isn't what you said, which is:

"Newsom got ~5% more votes in 2003, not 10%, a total of 15,000 out of 270K or so."

And, no, he did not get ~5% more votes which was your mistake that we were correcting before you accused US of pulling numbers out of our butts.

And 5% is close but it is certainly not a squeaker.

Posted by Troll on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

Newsom got 133,546 votes which is 14,217 or 11.9% more than Gonzalez's 119,329.


But I just put that out there as an FYI. I don't think it does any good to point out the fabricated math of the Progressives. It's not like it is going to stop any time soon. In fact, it will probably get worse as time goes on. Let them deny their plummeting electoral base if it makes them happy.

Like the other clown who says that Ed Lee's 60/40 win isn't meaningful because it had the normal amount of turnout for a Mayoral election.

Posted by Troll on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:58 am

it right. He's better than this. But to summarize:

Gavin got 11.9% more votes than Matt, as you note.

Lee got 50% more votes than Avalos.

The former is close but comfortable. The latter is a landslide. either way the Progs have never come close to power since I came to town (when Jordan was mayor).

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

The vast majority of housing in San Francisco is comprised of rent-controlled apartments. Replacing tennis courts for downtown yuppies with condos for multi-millionaires (billionaires are going to skip these fancy shoe boxes and head straight to a mansion in Pacific Heights, or more likely, Atherton or Marin) does nothing to force anyone to leave their home, their community, or "the city they love."

In fact, building housing for wealthy people downtown helps alleviate the situation where wealthy or even just upper-middle class people move into middle-class and working-class neighborhoods, which may encourage owner-move-in or Ellis Act evictions. When you constrict the supply, then people with money simply go after what is available. So, you have places like Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, the Inner Sunset, etc, transformed from nondescript middle/working class neighborhoods into affluent enclaves. You could pass a law today saying only low-income housing could be constructed within the city limits of SF, and it would simply ensure that people with money would buy up ever single residential building available and then engage in either an owner-move-in eviction or an Ellis Act eviction.

The focus instead should be on ensuring that developers contribute adequately to the affordable housing fund and pay their fair share of development impact fees, then with the increased property tax collections, everyone benefits.

Posted by Chris on May. 17, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

LOL......are you in favor of expanding BART? MY guess would be yes.
What does BART do: at one level it ties the SF Bay area into ONE COMMUNITY.

If I can't pay my mortgage in SF (and it could happen) I won't be out crying, asking for a handout. I will move to cheaper digs and start again. I guess I most be a fool. If I have to leave, no one "will be forcing me out".

This city has way too many self-entitled adults who never grew up. They call themselves "progressives". The only thing that never progressed is their brain.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2012 @ 8:48 am

I attended the entire BOS hearing last night and there are so many things wrong with this article, it is crazy.

a) Paid speakers: As far as speakers leaving after finding out the "real" story behind the project- many supporters had to leave before they were allowed to speak as Supervisor Chiu dragged out questions and comments until 11pm (dissenters were finished speaking by 8pm). I saw numerous people give their comments to other supporters to speak on their behalf (fortunately you had the luxury of being at home having already put your kids to bed).

b) Labor: I spoke in favor of the EIR and have zero connection to labor. I also have no financial connection/interest to the project, I'm just a local resident who sees the value in adding housing/retail/restaurants and open space in place of desolate parking lots. At the most, 10% of supporters who spoke were "labor".

c) Homes for the 1%: This entire concept is insane. Market conditions will dictate the price of these 1-4 bedroom residences. If surrounding areas are selling 2 bedroom homes for $1.5M, prices for these units will be commiserate. You don't need to make $343K (the threshold for the 1%) to afford a $1.5M home.

d) Affordable housing: Anyone who believes that affordable housing should be built in a prime location doesn't understand the concept of supply and demand. Its pretty ironic that people want to sandwich affordable housing between an expensive private health club and the ferry building, where a burger and fries costs $16.

As per usual, typical guardian propaganda. Call me when people actually pay for your paper.

Posted by JC80 on May. 16, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

Tim, I can only assume that you are either completely misinformed or so against this project that you think the disgusting lies in this article are justified. But either way, this article is completely unproductive and only serves to deepen the growing cynicism toward the Progressives. If you disagree with the decision, fine. But lets talk about the merits of the project instead of printing lies about the supporters of 8 Washington.

I along with many other concerned San Francisco residents attended the hearing last night to speak in support of the 8 Washington. We waited over 7 hours to get a chance to speak. None of us were paid. We stayed because we are tired of NIMBY’s stopping even well thought out projects. Many supporters could not stay until 11:30 pm to speak, so your view from home didn’t give you a proper sense of the depth and breadth of project supporters.

I think the project makes complete sense. And I am completely offended by the opposition misappropriate of the 99% theme to defend their private club and million dollar views. Right now, the 99% get no benefit. But if the project is built, the entire city will benefit. Instead of a private club and a parking lot, we will get a vibrant waterfront community of residential housing, new retail and restaurants, below-ground parking to serve the Ferry Building and three new public open spaces. Not to mention tax revenue for the City and Port. I am particularly excited about the opening of Jackson and Pacific Streets to the Embarcadero - providing public access and visual corridors between Jackson Square, North Beach and Chinatown to the waterfront.

Look, I’m concerned about affordable housing as much as the next person, but I don’t see how stopping this project helps that situation. This project will add to the affordable housing stock and will not take any away. Affordable units don’t come out of thin air. They have to be paid for and with the loss of the Redevelopment Agency, the City has very limited funds to build new projects. So please don’t discount the $11 million in affordable housing funds that this project will provide.

San Francisco is a great city, but it is not inevitably great. We have to be diligent in renewing our greatness. Given the financial plight of the City, the scarcity of housing, the deterioration of our infrastructure, and the opportunity to significantly enliven the west side of the Embarcadero, I don’t believe this is an opportunity we should pass up.

Posted by Guest Jammer on May. 16, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

"I don’t believe this is an opportunity we should pass up."

There's the sales pitch for it. Corporate Retail Bull Shit 101. Right out of corporate retail. That by-line sounds so sheep and so corporate. You left out the ubiquitous, "you won't be disappointed." It's as predictable as "made with love and served with pride," that syrupy retail language that some bakeries and restaurants use.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

So that's your reaction to the guy's post? you didn't like the last sentence because it sounded too corporate? What about the other 3 or 4 paragraphs of facts and logic?

No wonder the Progressive movement is so hopelessly ineffective. They just crawl into a fetal position when someone challenges them.

Posted by Troll on May. 16, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

Who would deliberately choose to live on landfill? That's where this thing for the 1% will be built? Who would choose to go through big earthquakes on landfill? I was in 3 Embarcadero Center for the 6.9 quake in 1989. The Embarcadero Center shook like hell. The building shook violently. I thought: "it's all over, this is it.," I was on one of the lower floors. Also, with rising sea levels do the 1% think they will be immune from that or do they choose to live in Denial? A gated community won't protect the 1% from rising sea levels. What idiots...all around. (Except for the 3 supervisors who voted against it).

Rising Sea Levels Seen as Threat to Coastal U.S.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

I thought: "it's all over, this is it.,"

But it wasn't. And when it wasn't, I said to myself, "Is that all there is to progressive sky-is-falling panic every election cycle? Is that all there is?"

Posted by Guest on May. 20, 2012 @ 8:28 am

this whole article is filled with inaccurate fantasy. apparently the reporter (fictional author?) is one of the holier than though members of GGT&SC that is upset about losing their private tennis courts? When did SFBG decide to advocate for country clubs? Is this the Marin Guardian? Going to search for a real progressive media outlet that actually values journalism instead of pandering to the tennis elite. This short story should really help grease the skids for entry into the Olympic Club!

Posted by SFBG Fan on May. 16, 2012 @ 10:20 pm



This was a classic fight between private and public interests. Private interests won this vote 8-3.

Elsbernd, Farrell and Chu never made any pretensions of having a social democratic political philosophy or conscience so their votes make sense. They hold down the Ayn Rand wing of San Francisco politics. 8 Washington is housing for the job "creators." At least there is some intellectual honesty to their votes.

However, for politicians engaged in the language of the 99% and/or demonstrating in 2011, support of this condo development or the one headed for 80 Howard is a problem.

It's insulting to the people for politicians to pretend to be what either they are not and lack the moral character and capacity to be.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:32 am

The board of supervisors hearing on 8 Washington was a David Chiu show start to finish. What was most remarkable about the hearing was Chiu's incredible disrespect for citizens who did not agree with him. He made people who support the project sit through seven hours of rantings (about half of it by him alone) against the project. These are people who took time off of work or away from their families, since one can't testify from home while watching television.

At 11:00 pm (the hearing started at 4:00 pm), supporters finally got a chance to speak (about a third had to go on to other commitments). What did David Chiu do after forcing supporters to listen to him for seven hours? He spent the time talking to other supervisors and not one second listening to supporter testimony.

He seems to be carrying on the Daly tradition of rudeness. It's beneath San Francisco. Just because people disagree, doesn't mean they should be treated with disgust. I agree with the commenter above, both David and the Guardian "reporter" acted like juveniles throwing a tantrum when things don't go their way.

Posted by Guest Grace on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:06 am

He got some points from me for sticking up for Lee, but this exhibition from him was miserable. Even Mar gets this issue.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 7:26 am

What I don't understand is why he didn't recuse himself from the vote. He publicly protested the building site and there are videos of him showing up and speaking at the "fogg" (friends of golden gateway) anti 8 wash org meetings.
Chiu really is an opportunistic flag blowing whichever way benefits him more.
As a d3 resident, I don't know why we tend to have such $hitty supes representing.

Posted by Greg on May. 17, 2012 @ 8:15 am

This is not like a jury etc. He made his point of view well known before the hearing and has been consistent with it. No need to not vote.

Posted by D.native on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:13 pm